Personal Devices Create a Dilemma for Corporate IT - Page 5
Plenty could change on the application development front if Android takes hold as an industry-standard platform. With a single development platform, a company could create a single corporate application for a range of devices-not only similar devices from different vendors but also devices with a variety of capabilities corresponding to individual users' needs. A wild card on the development front is the expected emergence of an Apple SDK for the iPhone in February. Such an SDK could spur interest in the iPhone as a rival application platform. "We've had requests about the iPhone. I want [Steve] Jobs to release the SDK," said Israel.What also remains to be seen is how corporate users respond to the "corporatization" of their personal devices. Just as the PC evolved from an independent machine to a component of corporate IT infrastructures, multifunction mobile devices are increasingly being bound by organizational tethers. While the productivity applications and security support that comes with tighter control will probably be welcome by most users, the individual character of the devices and the tendency of users to employ corporate devices for personal purposes is in jeopardy. "I think there could be a lot of tension until the product space reaches maturity and virtually all products come out of the box with a full feature set, and there are fewer options and accessories to choose from," said Jaffe. One thing is certain: As long as business workers are on the road, the line between business and personal time will be blurred-and the push-pull between business and personal use of mobile devices will continue. The challenge for IT is to find the balance among application support, security and manageability that businesses require, while letting users feel a sense of connection with and ownership of their own devices so that they use them to full advantage.
And with product lines from all vendors being refreshed at frequent intervals-a new iPhone is expected this summer, for example-no corporate mobile computing standard will be forever cast in stone.